Christopher Rufo, the far right activist who intentionally turned a college-level school of thought to examine social structures for systemic racism into a fear-mongering right-wing nationwide panic, is now focusing his attacks on LGBTQ people, by effectively weaponizing transgender identity.
Rufo, a senior fellow at the right-wing Manhattan Institute, is the man behind the right’s false panic and fury over CRT, Critical Race Theory. He’s bragged he wants to “have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory,’” and “put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.”
Now he’s applying that model to attack the LGBTQ community – especially transgender people and drag queens.
Rufo wants the right to turn a commonly used phrase, “drag queen,” one that many people both gay and straight use to refer to themselves, into something “more lurid” and sexual.
“Conservatives should start using the phrase ‘trans stripper’ in lieu of ‘drag queen,'” Rufo said openly Friday on Twitter, despite drag queens not generally being transgender. “It has a more lurid set of connotations and shifts the debate to sexualization.”
He thinks the 1.6 million people across America who identify as transgender should be victims of his weaponization of their very being.
Rufo knows what he’s doing is twisting language into an attack, and admits that when he uses the word “trans” people think “transgender,” but he outright states: “we can say that ‘trans’ is a stand-in for ‘transvestite,'” which is a word not commonly used in decades.
“Drag queens in schools” invites a debate; “trans strippers in schools” anchors an unstoppable argument.
Let the Left try to nitpick the phrase: we can say that “trans” is a stand-in for “transvestite” and we can show videos that are undeniably strip shows.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) June 17, 2022
And then he dares the majority of Americans who do not have an issue with transgender people to “engage in language games,” which is exactly what he is doing.
“Trans strippers in schools” is a powerful frame to this debate and, if the Left chooses to engage in language games on that phrase, they will find themselves defending concepts and words that are deeply disturbing to most people. Let them get stuck in the linguistic mud.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) June 17, 2022
He even gives away his secret formula, while claiming the left is “very good” at this:
“The trick is to shift the language in a way that is factually accurate and has a plausible claim to neutrality, but attaches a new set of connotations to the concept that shifts the debate in your favor.”
Yale professor Jason Stanley, author of the books “How Propaganda Works” and “How Fascism Works”:
Rufo is also willing to cross moral lines that no US propagandist in recent times has been willing to cross, and this ruthlessness is also key to his particular genius.
— Jason Stanley (@jasonintrator) June 17, 2022
Pushback has been quick. Some are mocking Rufo and others making stronger criticisms, with a frequent theme that seems to be accusing him of telling people to lie:
Christopher Rufo’s whole thing is just randomly tweeting like “conservatives need to redefine broccoli as murder lettuce” https://t.co/19OS9PKYz1
— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) June 17, 2022
just openly telling the right they should lie in order to manufacture hysteria https://t.co/XO9WxVspWv
— Current Affairs (@curaffairs) June 17, 2022
Most drag queens are cis men in costume doing female impersonation as a form of entertainment. You are fear-mongering about people literally playing dress up.
— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) June 17, 2022
We should start using the words “nazis obsessed with childrens’ genitalia” instead of “conservative thought leader.” It has a more lurid set of connotations and shifts the debate to these weirdos’ perverse obsessions! https://t.co/7eb7dB8g1b
— Ben Miller (@benwritesthings) June 17, 2022
An interesting thing about Rufo is instead of just quietly lying about things and pretending to believe them, he shouts from the rooftops, “HEY GUYS LET’S LIE ABOUT THIS. I’LL BET IT’LL BE EASIER TO WHIP UP A HYSTERICAL CULTURE WAR PANIC THAT WAY!” https://t.co/kBHGXlTirA
— Ben Burgis (@BenBurgis) June 17, 2022
Somewhat impressed by how open he is that outright lies and deception are among their most powerful tactics. https://t.co/Q4T50D3UPX
— Sturgeon’s Law (@Sturgeons_Law) June 17, 2022
Rufo, who before he pivoted to being a paid shill for racism and queer bashing was a paid shill for creationism, openly admits to lying and propagandizing to stoke fear and violence.
Will any of the media that credulously puts him on reconsider? I doubt it! https://t.co/mTHhGElcKb
— “Delta-8 Mom” on TikTok and Instagram (@RuckCohlchez) June 17, 2022
Using drag queens to further your goal of genocidal violence against trans people is NASTY work
I do not believe people like Christopher should ever be made to feel safe https://t.co/w4fMZIS2kN
— Terrance… (@iTerryTommy) June 17, 2022
This is evil shit. This motherfucker is outright evil. https://t.co/SVICy98TeS
— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) June 17, 2022
This is awful and evil. I encourage you to read this entire thread to see they are saying the soft part out loud — and they don’t care. We are going backwards and it’s scary as hell. I’m proud to know and work w/so many entertainers who are some of the best humans I know. ♥️ https://t.co/ROoThMDxwv
— Jason Matheson (@jasonmatheson) June 17, 2022
What a piece of shit https://t.co/teiLwkFagi
— Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers (@SollenbergerRC) June 17, 2022
This dishonest creep just keeps telling the world OUTRIGHT how the right plans to attack and smear LGBTQ people. Twitter not only lets him do it, they’ve verified him. https://t.co/9rQWYiuczm
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) June 17, 2022
Rufo is so blatantly dishonest. Drag queens don’t usually strip and aren’t usually trans.They’re typically straight and gay cis men wearing women’s clothes who sing, dance or act, like Rudy Giuliani did. https://t.co/15UY5K7jZA
— Amy Fried 🌻🇺🇦 (@ASFried) June 17, 2022
These fuckers are literally dreaming up anti lgbtq propaganda out in the open https://t.co/JT6VxT0oVj
— Jason (@JLMillse) June 17, 2022
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House Republicans Visited Trump After FBI Raid to Urge Him to Announce Run for President
House Republicans, including Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), the chair of far-right Republican Study Committee, traveled to Donald Trump‘s Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort one day after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago home to urge him to announce his 2024 run for president.
Congressman Banks is a far-right Republican who spread Trump’s “Big Lie,” the false claims about the 2020 election, objected to the certification of the election results, and falsely claimed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was to blame for the January 6 insurrection.
Tuesday night Rep. Banks posted a photo of himself and other members of the House Republican Study Committee at Bedminster, tweeting, “House conservatives are united in standing with President Trump. We will Make America Great Again!”
House conservatives are united in standing with President Trump.
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) August 10, 2022
CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa writes, “Conservative House Republicans have publicly and privately rallied behind Trump in the past 24 hours, including the visit below to Bedminster, where several GOP lawmakers encouraged him to jump into the 2024 race.”
Trump “told the group he ‘has made up his mind’ about his long-teased run, and ‘enjoyed encouragement’ from them to ‘get the decision out sooner rather than later,'” the New York Post adds Wednesday morning. Banks also told Fox News that Trump “said we are going to like his decision and it is only a matter of time before he will make that decision known.”
Rep. Banks has falsely claimed he is the ranking member of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack in a letter to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior in an effort to obtain information about the investigation.
Far right Republicans and Trump supporters have been passionately defending Trump after the FBI executed its search warrant and confiscated reportedly ten cartons believed to include classified documents from Mar-a-Lago that were required to be sent to the National Archives.
Trump to Give Long-Delayed Court-Ordered Sworn Testimony to NY Attorney General in Real Estate Pricing Probe
Donald Trump is scheduled to appear before lawyers in the Office of the New York Attorney General Letitia James Wednesday morning to give sworn testimony in her probe of his real estate pricing practices.
Trump’s long-awaited deposition was originally scheduled for January 7, according to the subpoena he received, Insider reports, but he has successfully managed to push it back more than seven months. Similarly two of his adult children had their depositions pushed back, and then pushed even further after the recent death of their mother, Ivana Trump.
“Trump allegedly misstated property values to win hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and bank loans,” Insider reports. The former president “is scheduled to be grilled in person in Manhattan on what James has alleged is a decade-long pattern of financial misstatements on documents used by the Trump Organization to win hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and bank loans.”
Fox News adds: “It’s unclear at this time if the former president will be willing to answer all the questions that the lawyers pose him or if he could be asserting his Fifth Amendment right.”
Trump “has also called the investigation by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, a politically motivated witch hunt,” The New York Times reports.
“He repeated his criticism on his Truth Social account. ‘In New York City tonight. Seeing racist N.Y.S. Attorney General tomorrow, for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history!’ he wrote. ‘My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!'”
Wednesday’s deposition marks the third harrowing day for the Republican politician, conspiracy theorist, white nationalist, and, some say, “con man” and “cult-like” figure.
Monday morning FBI agents executed a valid legal search warrant, signed by a federal judge, and confiscated ten cartons of documents which Trump’s press secretary acknowledged included confidential “paper.”
Tuesday a federal appeals court upheld a ruling made by a Trump-appointed lower court judge that allows the powerful House Ways and Means Committee to be granted access to his tax returns.
Experts Call on Trump to Release Search Warrant and Inventory List as His Supporters Talk of ‘Civil War’
Legal experts and other experts are urging – or in some cases, daring – Donald Trump to publish a copy of the FBI’s search warrant and the inventory list of the ten cartons of classified documents removed from Mar-a-Lago’s basement Monday, as his supporters openly call for civil war in response to what the former president called a “raid.”
“After the search, the federal agents hauled away roughly 10 more boxes,” The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
That makes the total number of cartons the former president was storing at his Florida home approximately 25, based on reports that 15 cartons had to be retrieved by the National Archives earlier this year.
Almost immediately upon news breaking that the FBI had executed a search warrant, Trump supporters went wild. They formed a convoy outside Mar-a-Lago, and online countless threats of violence and “civil war” have been made.
Tuesday morning CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan posted a graph, noting the “big spike in tweets referencing ‘civil war’ right after the news of the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago broke last night.”
Dr. Caroline Orr Bueno posted an image of a large number of tweets that call for civil war and other related threats of violence, including: “I already bought my ammo,” “Civil war! Pick up arms, people!” “Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,” “Let’s do the war,” and “One step closer to a kinetic civil war.”
And Tuesday afternoon NBC News reported, “After Mar-a-Lago search, users on pro-Trump forums agitate for ‘civil war’ — including a Jan. 6 rioter.”
Legal experts have made clear they believe FBI’s execution of a lawful federal search warrant is most likely in connection with a national security and counterintelligence operation, not a casual stroll into the private estate of a former U.S. president – and certainly not a political move, like Trump supporters are falsely claiming.
Former Dept. of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich, who is also a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York (SDNY) notes that “Trump has the search warrant, specifying the crimes being investigated, and the inventory of the items seized.”
“He has chosen not to share those items publicly although he is free to do so,” Bromwich adds.
Former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on MSNBC Tuesday morning:
“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.”
“Donald Trump, you have a copy of the warrant. It explains what they were looking for, what statutes they think were violated, what judge signed off on that…If you believe this is such an abuse, release the warrant and let us decide for ourselves.” @neal_katyal pic.twitter.com/j3PH8m8ACI
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) August 9, 2022
“By the way,” noted Richard Stengel, a former U.S. Under Secretary of State, “Trump now has the search warrant and the inventory of what was taken in his possession. If this raid was so egregious and unjustified, why not release them?”
“Trump can release the search warrant and the inventory of what the FBI took. Why hasn’t he?” asked Marc Elias, the DNC’s top attorney who successfully fought more than 60 cases of alleged election fraud brought by the Trump team and his supporters.
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, responding to a Fox News tweet with video of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that reads, “‘WE DESERVE ANSWERS NOW'” wrote: “Some of those questions could be answered if Trump released the search warrant as well as the inventory of items seized, which his team presumably has.”
Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeting his article titled, “Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails,” wrote: “One person who could clear most of it up? Trump. He has access to the inventory of records at Mar-a-Lago and likely received a copy of the search warrant. He would also know the nature of the classified documents at issue.”
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